Brazil legend Pele has actually “won” more Ballon d’Or awards than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The former Santos star broke many records during his playing days and is probably the greatest footballer ever.
However, currently, the two kings of world football are Ronaldo and Messi, who have claimed the Ballon d’Or a combined 11 times.
The Argentine was won the prestigious individual award a record six times, while his Portuguese rival has five.
#tbt – @pele @francefootball 7 Ballon d’or ? #pele #ballondor #montreal #soccer #football #futbol #mtl #soccerbible #footy #futbolista #futbolistas #soccer⚽️ #fútbol #futboleros #futbolsport #instagood #soccerskills #instafutbol #footballer #soccertime #… https://t.co/844OIOwS3h pic.twitter.com/X2gCoEHN1Q
— Time4Foot (@time4foot) December 6, 2018
However, France Football, who are the organisers of the Ballon d’Or, recognise Pele as a seven-time winner of the award.
The explanation is that, until 1995, only European footballers were eligible to win the Ballon d’Or.
However, France Football later changed this rule, enabling players from all over the world to win the annual award.
Interestingly, in 2016, an “international re-evaluation” was done in 2016 to calculate who should have won the Ballon d’Or had it always been global.
Seven Ballon d’Or awards were retrospectively given to Pele – 958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, and 1970.
Diego Maradona also emerges winner twice, while Romario, Mario Kempes, and Garrincha all joined the honorary list.
So, you see why Pele has “won” more Ballon d’Or awards than Messi and Ronaldo?